75 year-old weapons cache uncovered

Archaeologists in Israel not are not only busy with finds from ancient history, but also deal with more modern events.  During the British mandate, Jews not in the British security services were forbidden from holding arms so the underground Jewish forces (Hagana, Irgun, Lehi) developed a series of “slicks” or secret weapons caches.  The Haganah caches were often on kibbutzes and now a number of these are coming to light.  Several years ago one of the older kibbutz members revealed, on his deathbed, the location of a 70 year old cache of weapons.  Why did he wait so long?  Because he was sworn to secrecy.

This story (in Hebrew)   is about the largest slick discovered to date.  It was not designed for weapons but instead housed two armored personnel carriers “donated” to the Jews by pro-Zionist Australian forces.  Unfortunately, the article points out, these APCs never saw combat.  On June 26 1946, after a major operation by the Jewish undergrounds to blow up the bridges leading into and out of the country, the British retaliated by arresting Jewish leaders and launching an intense search for “slicks.” Warned of this danger the kibbutz members dissembled the APC’s and hid the parts in a nearby wadi.

Dror Segal, the archaeologist who uncovered the slick talks about how he looks down at they are now doing work on the wadi and he looks down every day hoping to find parts of this disassembled armor, uncovering another layer of Israeli history.

About the Author
Cliff Churgin is a freelance writer based in Jerusalem.